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Aristophanes: Lysistrata /The Acharnians/The Clouds Mass Market Paperback – 30 Aug 1973

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 30 Aug 1973
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New edition edition (30 Aug. 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140442871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140442878
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,013,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Aristophanes (ca. 446-ca. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a prolific and much acclaimed comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete. These, together with fragments of some of his other plays, provide the only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy, and they are in fact used to define the genre. Also known as the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy, Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author. His powers of ridicule were feared and acknowledged by influential contemporaries - Plato singled out Aristophanes' play The Clouds as slander contributing to the trial and execution of Socrates although other satirical playwrights had caricatured the philosopher. His second play, The Babylonians (now lost), was denounced by the demagogue Cleon as a slander against the Athenian polis. It is possible that the case was argued in court but details of the trial are not recorded and Aristophanes caricatured Cleon mercilessly in his subsequent plays, especially The Knights. "In my opinion," he says through the Chorus in that play, "the author-director of comedies has the hardest job of all." He is also known for some famous sayings, such as "By words the mind is winged." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alan Sommerstein went to some length to translate the puns and plays on words (as further explained in the endnotes), which results in a very active play, and, for the careful reader, wit in nearly every line. He also uses the endnotes to explain further the Greek personalities mentioned in the plays, which adds to the understanding; my recommendation would be to read the play straight, then read the associated endnotes, then reread the play in question.
This translation captures the humor of the original, which ranges from low-brow slapstick to witty one-liners to political asides--a union of vaudeville, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Russell. However, what Sommerstein utterly misses is the form of ancient Greek comedy. The lyric choruses are rendered in choppy iambic lines, with many of them set to tunes from Gilbert & Sullivan. Aristophanes meant to use vulgarity in the acting, not in the lines of the Chorus.
Two stars for verbal wit, two stars for completeness of endnotes, and one star for my love of "Lysistrata", minus one star for excessive use of campy tunes.
(For those of you who do like his translations, or those just looking for the other eight plays, they are contained in two more volumes. Sommerstein collaborated with David Barrett in the volume Knights/Peace/Birds/Women's Assembly/Wealth, while Barrett translated Wasps/Women's Assembly/Frogs. Barrett takes less care with the translation of humor, but does not destroy the credibility of the choral lines.)
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Format: Paperback
Aristophanes was the greatest comedian in the ancient Greek world and this play is, without a doubt, his most entertaining work.
Having recently read books on the role of women in ancient Greek society, it was great to read a play with a women protagonist and the solution to the war was an ingenious one - a sex strike!!! This play is very funny and very worth reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this because Clouds was mentioned in Bettany Hughes' The Hemlock Cup. Not being that familiar with 2,400-year-old Greek plays, I didn't really know what to expect, but found them hugely entertaining. They're marvellously filthy too. I had to read them twice, the first time only referring to the notes when something made no sense at all to avoid breaking the flow, and then the second time looking at all of them to get a better understanding of the context. Cracking stuff.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
You know you want to buy this... its got everything!!! Sexual ineuendo reigns supreme here!!! Honestly, it'll have even the uninitiated non-classicists rolling with laughter!!! Buy it and experience the process of wetting yourself!!!
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By TH on 13 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've never read any Greek plays and needed to buy this for my course. I didn't know the story, so was surprised at how bawdy it was. Very enjoyable introduction to Greek comedy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to read other plays by Aristophanes so having a collection in one book was super handy, and the product arrived quicker than expected which is always a bonus!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perfectly good presentation of a Greek classic at a sensible price and reasonably well annotated. Bawdy but effective in telling the story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another very good book for those at college, school or university. My son loved it and i have to admit that even i started to read it!
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